A vital Radcliffe service has opened a permanent shop selling new clothes donated by local supermarkets for £1 or £2.

The Radcliffe Food Club, based at Bridge Community Church, gained around 300 members this year who needed support during the cost-of-living crisis.

The charity has now received £1,960 from a Cost-of-Living Community Fund, allowing it to expand services and open the clothes shop to help with heating costs and other support.

Paul Wright who runs the food club said: “We only started a year ago and we already have 300 members.

“Not everybody needs to come every week and people do move on as their circumstances change.

“Members feel they have a stake in the club and being able to pay a minimal amount gives them some dignity – they want to be able to pay their way but are finding circumstances tough.”

The food club runs as a membership scheme with people paying £5 per year and £3 for a weekly shop of 12 items.

The clothes shop provides new clothes donated by local supermarkets and others for £1 or £2.

Paul added: “Anyone can find themselves in this situation, and it doesn’t take much for someone to lose their home or job to find themselves facing hard times.

“Even if someone comes to us and says they have no money we will never turn them away. But we will also provide them with support and advice to improve their circumstances.

“The food club looks like a shop and we have helpers on hand to guide people about what is best to buy.

“We rely heavily on volunteers and donations from local businesses and national retailers for our food and clothes.

Bury Times: Pictured (from right) Paul shows Cllr Gold around the food club and the clothes shopPictured (from right) Paul shows Cllr Gold around the food club and the clothes shop (Image: Bury Council)

“That is our biggest challenge, getting enough food. We scour the supermarkets for the good deals and we’re grateful to the Co-Op for who donate their best before offers.”

Paul also thanked the community champion at Asda for donations of new clothes, as well as thanking Morrisons for donating school uniforms and toys for members to buy as gifts.

The club is open for Radcliffe residents every Wednesday with a free community café offering hot drinks and breakfast, a food club in the morning and evening, clothes shop and IT group for anyone who needs help filling forms or going online.

Advice from Six Town Housing, the council’s Adult Learning service and Wellness teams, and Citizens Advice is also available.

Councillor Richard Gold, Cabinet member for communities and finance said: “The food club and church provide such a valuable service for the residents of Radcliffe.

“They are among many community and other groups across the borough providing a wide range of immediate help with the cost of living.

“Out Cost of Living fund, using money from the government’s Household Support Fund, has provided more than £140,000 this year to these groups.

“But in 2023 it is tragic that such support is needed. Our Cost of Living Anti-Poverty Strategy is working not only to provide that emergency help but also to look at and tackle the longer term causes that put people at risk of difficulties.

“This includes looking at why and how people get into debt, improving work opportunities and skills, access to quality and healthy food, and energy efficiency. All these and other issues play a big role in meaning residents need help and are not able to get out of the difficulties they are in.”

The cost-of-living support grant has been made available to the club by Bury Council and Bury Voluntary, Community and Faith Alliance (VCFA).